A Scottish university is bringing in dogs to help interview potential students to see if they are suitable for a veterinary course.
Students applying for Edinburgh Napier University’s vet nursing course must go through an interview while dogs compete for their attention. The purpose of the scheme is to see how students deal with an animal before being offered a place on the course. Staff say the scheme is helping to make sure that the right people are picked.
Dr Mary Fraser is a vet nursing lecturer and owner of Belle, one of the dogs which has been introduced as part of the interview process. She said: “We get more than 400 applicants for our vet nursing course, which is the only degree of its kind offered in Scotland, and only have 30 places, so it’s really important we select those students who are right for the job. “Having Belle in the interview room not only helps calm the prospective students but lets us see what they’re like with animals.”
Belle, along with black Labrador Ellie and terrier Holly, are brought in and left to roam the room while applicants are quizzed by the human lecturers about their qualifications and work experience. The dogs also have a structured set of competency based questions which they ask all the candidates as well as acting as assessors at a “mini assessment centre” where the candidates do a group exercise, a presentation and a problem solving activity. The dogs then discuss in detail the performance of all the candidates with their human colleagues to arrive at a consensus of who should be offered a place.
Dr Fraser added: “All of our students go on to have work placements before eventually taking jobs in veterinary practices so if, at this stage, they don’t cope well with a very friendly puppy then they are unlikely to get on well with a snarling 60kg dog.
“It is about rooting out these issues before they even get a foot in the door.”
Oh the wonders of modern recruitment techniques!